What if the cost of college keeps you from that “dream” school?

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What if the cost of college keeps you from that “dream” school?

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Okay, so you got into your top choice school. All’s great, right? Wait. But now, how can I pay for this?

   The tuition for college has seen an intense augmentation in the past few decades. For reference, according to Ivory Tower, a video documentary on the college process, “The price of college since 1978 has risen 1120%. The price of health care since 1978 has risen 600%.”

  Luckily, scholarships, a form of financial aid, have been developed to ease the financial burden that many students face in the pursuit for postsecondary education. For those academically, artistically, or athletically inclined students, scholarships are accolades that offer a stipend of which may be used when paying tuition at college.

  For students at Eastern, a multitude of national, college-specific, and local scholarships exist as a form of financial aid.

  Mr. Susko, who is supervisor of guidance, said, “You have the big national scholarships that have big corporate sponsors. We tell students you are less likely to win those because there are thousands, tens of thousands, of students applying. It is almost equivalent to winning the lottery.”

   From this, students may also apply for college-specific scholarships which are more specialized grants that particular universities award to high-achieving students planning to attend said institutions.

  Local and community-based scholarships from the three townships making up Eastern’s demographic are also

available for students. Ms. Ryan, the Vice Principal of 11th grade, said, “Every year there are academic awards with a lot of awards that come from the community and from all three townships.” While smaller sums of money, these scholarships and awards are more likely to be won by an Eastern student.

  However, regardless of the chance of winning a particular scholarship, Mr. Susko said, “It doesn’t hurt to apply. A lot of students think they are not going to get it, but you don’t know until you apply. So, just throw it out there and take the time it takes to fill out that application.”

   Mr. Bowne is the chairperson for the Eastern Education Foundation Scholarship Board. The committee of several teachers decides on two scholarships for future teachers. The EEA gives two $2,000 scholarships, the highest award during the Academic Award Night. These scholarships are awarded to two promising seniors who demonstrate a passion for teaching and a desire to enter a professional field involved in education.   

   As far as other scholarships, Mr. Bowne said, “Apply, apply, apply.”

  He understands the emphasis on the college application process, but kids oftentimes forget the most important aspect of the college process is applying for scholarships. “There is nothing better than getting a college education that you don’t have to pay for.”

    For Eastern students wishing to apply for scholarships, Naviance Family Connection houses all of the information regarding specific scholarships and their application processes. It must be noted, however, that the application processes for different scholarships involves different requirements and deadlines.

  Jennifer Glass, who graduated last year from Eastern, is currently attending Syracuse University on a full scholarship. She had to write several essays and interview at Syracuse. She thinks Eastern does a good job of making  scholarships accessible through websites. She admits the process is stressful just because there are so many scholarships. “It’s kind of hard when you are juggling deadlines for your regular application to also do separate scholarships,” she said.

   Nicole Meskin, another Eastern alumna and freshman at The College of New Jersey, explained that she applied for numerous scholarships and received many of them, which helped with the financial pressure of college tuition. She advised Eastern students to take advantage of scholarship opportunities, although they may seem daunting. “Once you actually start applying, you realize they are not as stressful as it seemed at first,” she said.

  Archana Mupparapu, a scholarship recipient and Temple University Honors Program freshman, agreed with Meskin, and added that scholarships can be beneficial to students from any financial background.

  Many students, like senior Justin Choi, see that although the scholarship application process can be fast-paced when combined with many other deadlines, students should recognize that the long-term benefits are worth the stress. “It’s honestly re-filling out information that you already have filled out on your Common App. Will it be repetitive? Sure. But the potential benefits that you get in return far outweigh any sort of copying and pasting that you’ll have to do.”

In recent years, the growing ideal for academic prestige has seen many institutions of higher education in a battle for increased resources and grandiose amenities. However, while these colleges contend for extravagances, students across the nation have gotten caught in the crossfire, suffering the horrors of financial injury and student debt.

  Choi, who has already received merit aid from universities such as Rutgers, Northeastern, and Drexel, is among many students across the country who are following a new trend – looking ahead to student debt instead of being infatuated with “name brand” schools. “If I get into a top school, I’d consider it, but even then, if I was drowning in debt by the end, I’d seriously still consider a state school like Rutgers over those options.”

   Scholarships, although at times stressful, are an integral part of paying for college tuition. While many students still choose grandiose, prestigious universities over state schools, many are beginning to see the benefits of in-state tuition accompanied with scholarships.

  Said grants and financial aid have gradually arisen as treatments for the growing epidemic of national student debt and must be regarded with much significance when anyone decides to embark on the journey of postsecondary education.

    “Looking at the growing rates of student debt today, it is so important to think about how college costs affect our futures,” said Mupparapu. “Even those who are not in great financial need should seriously consider scholarship offers because they remove a huge burden from the rest of their lives.”